NEHvengers Ep15: The Falcon and The Winter Soldier – Series Finale Review Josh Yutkins-Kennedy
Here we are NETV fans, the end of a legacy.
On Thursday, November 6th, Naruto chapters 699 and 700 were released online, and with it, the end of Naruto. This series, which is considered one of the best selling manga of all time, helped to define a generation of children. Whether you were a fan of manga/anime or not, you have probably at least heard of the series. And while the series had its critics, the lessons that the series taught were ones that we all could probably take to heart.
Lets start with a little recap of how the series ended.
After team 7 is reunited, they defeat Akatsuki, Madara, and Kaguya. But before Naruto and Sasuke release the infinite tsukuyomi, they engage in their final fight, due to Sasuke wanting to create a new shinobi world order. As they fight on and on, they eventually run of of stamina and their fight dissolves into a fist fight, which leaves both of them exhausted. After getting their second wind, they Naruto and Sasuke launch at each other with a rasengan and chidori, respectively, in hands and clash. As the two pass out from exhaustion and blood loss, they reconcile with Sasuke admitting his loss to Naruto and basically agreeing to follow him. As the shot pans out, you see that both Naruto and Sasuke are missing a majority of their dominant arm from their final clash. Kakashi and Sakura show up, and the latter immediately starts to heal them. Sasuke apologizes to Sakura for everything that happened, Sakura accepts and starts crying. As the three sit up and smile, Kakashi looks on happy happily thinking to himself that the three are finally back. As the two dispel the infinite tsukuyomi, Sasuke’s voice over plays the scene. Sasuke talks about how when he looks back on these events, he would think of the brotherly bond he shared with Naruto, and even as things became difficult he can think of the bonds that he has, and the pain and suffering and hope he shared with him. Because Naruto should have started to hate him, Naruto never gave up on him. This inner monologue goes over the world recovering from the war. Kakashi, now the 6th Hokage, stands with Sakura at the gate, bidding farewell to Sasuke who decided to travel the world. Kakashi says that he was pardoned thanks to the collaborative efforts of Naruto and himself, and to try and stay out of trouble. Sasuke says he will, and that this is his redemption, he needs to see the world with his own eyes this time. Sakura asks why he has to leave now, because Tsunade has almost finished his and Naruto arms made out of Hashirama’s cells. She then asks Sasuke if she can come with him, he says no, because this is his punishment and it has nothing to do with her. As she seems upset, Sasuke pokes her on the forehead and says he will see her when he gets back, and thanks her. As he begins to leave, he runs into Naruto, who is waiting for him. He says that he should’ve know Naruto would be there, and that someday, they will settle things in their rivalry. Naruto then hands Sasuke his old headband and says to make sure to hold onto this until then.
Many years later, the leaf village is at peace. Naruto has become the 7th Hokage and is married to Hinata with 2 kids. His eldest son, Baruto, strives for his fathers attention to the point that he uses paint on the Hokage monument, in the same way Naruto did when he was young. Naruto sits down at a 5 kage meeting and a narrator starts talking about how Naruto has become a legend.
First released in Japan in 1997, Naruto has become one of the biggest Manga/Anime successes of all time. The author, Masashi Kishimoto, has been praised and praised again for his almost perfect balance of action and comedy, including its action scenes that included quite the surprise in comedy itself.
For a series as long and well known as Naruto, there was a lot of pressure on Masashi to make sure the ending was satisfying. Kishimoto did an excellent job of capping off the series. The ending page, with the narration, of the series gave a very nostalgic and nice close to the long running story.
Given the themes of the series; peace, redemption, and the need for the end of the chain of hatred, the series ended on a good note. Upon first reading the chapter, it seems a little lacking, no fights, no big world changing battles, just words and peace. Upon thinking upon the series more, the ending makes a lot of sense. Naruto has created a peaceful world all while accomplishing his two biggest goals; Bringing back Sasuke from the cloud of hatred that had surrounded him, and to become a Hokage that surpasses all the others. Everyone around him is at peace, the villages are not fighting anymore, there are even cross country marriages. Choji marries Karui, and Shikamaru marries Temari. Ever since the Pain arc, the main goal of the series was to end the hatred that sounded everyone, Naruto manages to pull it off. Despite criticisms, the series really brought around what it has been promising to do for a while, all the while managing to put in the big Naruto vs. Sasuke fight we have all been expecting and hoping for.
Apart from the ending, the series itself has been a roller coaster ride. Some chapters were packed with action, others seemed like a waste of space. Regardless, all 700 came together in the end to make an exemplary series.
There were several let downs of the series. First and foremost, the length. Yes, I loved every second of the series, and the length did help attribute to Naruto’s (character) overall success in the end, but there were some arcs that could have just been left out, some character’s did not need back stories, and some conversations that just didn’t need to take place. At times, the series was very predictable. For example, you could always tell when a characters, especially a villain, was about to die because a flashback of theirs would take place. Or if they were a minor supporting character, they would all of a sudden have a jump in importance to the current arc
The story also had the issue that for a while, it didn’t focus on Naruto, the title character, at all. The two biggest accounts of this were when Sasuke killed Orochimaru through him killing Itachi, and the first half of the war. While it is important to show other characters growth and story, developing Naruto’s story as the main character at the same time, would have help tremendously. For a while, you would tune into see Sasuke was up to, as opposed to Naruto. Now Sasuke’s story was very important in Naruto’s, because it showed how this man developed into a bundle of hatred and how only Naruto could save him. But it focused on Sasuke, and his revenge to such an extent, that Sasuke finally turning over a new leaf, was a little forced and seemingly unnatural. At one moment, he is talking about killing the kages, Naruto, and the tailed beast and creating a revolution in the ninja world (and the lead up to this was perfect) the next, after a small bout with Naruto, he all of a sudden wants to follow him. 4 years later, after several encounters, now he wants to follow Naruto. It was a nice resolution and it shows the mysterious power Naruto has to give people hope, it just seemed forced. Like watching the main character of a story change his view of the world in the chapter/episode of said series.
This being said, Naruto was still an incredible and heartwarming series. Despite the flaw that it had (and lets be honest, every series has its flaws) the story showed that fighting is not the only way to resolve things and through peace, people can come to understand each other’s pain. While, as stated, some deaths were predictable, it didn’t stop them from being heart wrenching and leaving the readers broken.
Characters were well written to the point were they felt like real people, and each and everyone had a lesson to teach you. I know many people took these lessons to heart to. Some examples.
The comedy that the series brought while also maintaining its serious story was also incredible. Naruto never lost his prankster habits, and even in the midst of war, Kishimoto found ways to bring a laugh to his readers. Whether it be a well timed ‘Sexy jutsu’, an exhausted Neji confusing Kiba and Akamaru, or Suigetsu and Karin’s constant bickering, the series never let any comedic moment slip from it’s midst.
The epilogue of the story was a nice touch. It put a wrap on almost everything. The few question left unanswered were what happened to Orochimaru and the remnants of ‘Hawk’, what happens with Yamato, and what happens with the other tailed beasts. Other than that, almost every other character got a happy ending.
While some will bash the ending and the series as a whole, one cannot deny the impact it has had on society and the lessons it brought to the world. While most stories of this type resolve all their issues by fighting, this one emerged as a strong series, with characters that didn’t want to rely on violence to solve their issues. The series is vast and the universe is never ending, a feature that put’s Naruto at the top of the best Manga’s of all time. Even with its issues, and continuous strain of negativity from various sources, the series created a name for itself and will forever be remembered.
The small little boy sitting on a swing, has become a legend.
Writers score: 8.9/10
Written by Geoff
Josh Yutkins-Kennedy November 4, 2014
The End of Saturday Morning Cartoons
Hello our fellows Nerds and Nerdetts. It is about damn time we have done another podcast. So just sit back, relax, and let your inner child pour tears of sadness […]